Lorena (not her real name) told me how she would have been a teacher (BSEEd, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education) had she not stopped school because of the death of her mother. By then, she also started developing signs of leprosy (thickened reddish skin or infiltrations) in her body. She recalled her college days as working student, devoting her free time as cashier in the school canteen.
In the late ’80s she came home to the province to be treated with MB-MDT and became well, despite the episodes of ENL (lepra reaction) during the course of treatment.
The success story continues. She went back to work in Manila, this time as clerk in a government printing office. A few years later, however, she developed hypertension and was forced to leave her job because of the recurrent condition.
Life became harder for Lorena, as she could barely afford to buy her anti-hypertensive medications. Though her sister in the USA sends her money every two months, this was hardly sufficient to buy the extra necessary antihypertensive drugs.
“I cannot even go to Manila to follow up on my government service pension”, she says sadly. “My legs hurt and I have this ulcer on my foot”.
Lorena was set to follow her sister, who has been living in Utah as immigrant for years, in the United States. Her petition was terminated in 1998. “Even if I went there, I just wonder how I could have survived with my medical condition,” she says, referring to her hypertension on top of the complications of leprosy whicih she has been suffering from.
Hypertension is her health problem at the moment. Sometimes, she has episodes of fainting, most likely from effects of high blood pressure. She lives alone, goes to market, cooks, washes her clothes, cleans the house. Occasionally, her niece who lives nearby brings food for her.
I advised her to visit the skin clinic for management of her foot ulcer and leg pains. She eventually got treatment (Unna boot) for her ulcer on her right foot, which improved her condition.
She is a very religious person who attends Mass every Sunday despite her limp. Let us pray for her improved health. Financial assistance to defray her medical expenses for her hypertension problem will be most welcome. If you want to help her, please donate.